The United States, with major events a long way off, have plenty of leeway to experiment right now, and tonight against Romania we’re likely to see just that. Eight players with few or no caps have been added to the normal group, with Stanford’s Andi Sullivan joining seven NWSL standouts. For local fans, the Washington Spirit’s Crystal Dunn is in the squad, as well as the very very recently traded Ali Krieger (we miss you already, Ali).
One of those new players - Casey Short of the Chicago Red Stars - is highly likely to get some minutes due to injuries to normal left backs Meghan Klingenberg and Jaelene Hinkle. While Kelley O’Hara could easily start there, and probably would if this were a competitive game, it stands to reason that Short will get her shot at some decent minutes. Elsewhere, Sullivan - who looked very much at home in her last USWNT outing despite not yet being a professional - and Houston Dash attacker Kealia Ohai also seem likely to make an impact on tonight’s match.
Romania, for their part, are nearly entirely comprised of domestic players from Olimpia Cluj. Fourteen of the nineteen women called in for this pair of games (the follow-up is on Sunday) play for the same team, while the remaining five players are scattered around leagues that aren’t exactly the top spots in the world to be playing. By all accounts, this should be a mismatch, but only a couple of weeks ago we saw an Switzerland side missing their best player take the lead on the USWNT. In this utterly insane 2016, it’s not a good idea to take anything for granted.
Location: Avaya Stadium (San Jose, CA)
Kick-off time: 9:00pm Eastern
Available TV: ESPN2 (English), Univision Deportes (Spanish)
Available streaming: WatchESPN (English), Univision Deportes app (Spanish)
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
Treat this as the gamethread for tonight's match.